Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chicago! Chicago!

Or "How to get your Indian visa and move to India in 18 easy steps or less"
A simple plan requiring mental strength, emotional stability and a certain amount of physical dexterity:
1) Sign long awaited contract.

2)Troop downtown to Target for family passport pics and applications...signed, sealed and officially stamped.

3)Expedite (by which a great deal of money is exchanged for the pleasure of getting passports in the current millenium)
4)Once the passports arrive: Fill out hand cramping visa applications x 4, include official birth certificates of minor children and a marriage certificate....


6)Wait some more.

7)Wait...assuming that *of course* the visas will arrive by your scheduled departure date.

8)Throw big Going Away Party. Say Goodbye to Everyone. Begin to tie up loose ends at work. Pack. Pack. Pack. Stand confused in the middle of your living room wondering how you will ever organize everything.

9)Convince your children that you have not lost your mind. Ship miscellaneous items (some without discernible reason) by Sea. Pray for the return of your passports and perhaps the visas. Drop the kids off at Grandma's. Field phone call from Grandma stating that the kids *claim* they haven't had dinner. Realize that the kids are right.
10)Become aware that your visas and passports are lost in space. Be informed that the Indian consulate is not returning phone or email messages. Rebook your flight and hotel for one week later.
11)Clean your basement and find out just how much you actually NEED more time. Pack some more. Rent a dumpster and fill it in under 4 hours. Rent another dumpster. Remember to feed your children breakfast, lunch AND dinner...all in one day!
12)Learn to enjoy life surrounded by cardboard. Attempt to cook several meals without pans or utensils. Go out to dinner. Again.

13) Wait. Cancel your flight and hotel. Run into friends who wonder why you aren't in India. Remember that you *are* moving to India...someday...soon. Have a freaky hissy fit, ineffectively kicking the cardboard boxes in your dining room. Buy a yoga mat, several pounds of chocolate and a nice bottle of wine. NOTE TO SELF: do yoga BEFORE eating several pounds of chocolate and drinking one bottle of wine.
14) Fly to Chicago. Wait many hours. Pray that your passports are not lost. Realize that they might be. Some how secure all passports and visas...12 hours later. Rejoice!
15) Remember that you are skilled at *Being Flexible*... Rebook flights and hotel.
16) Sell your house!!!!!! Congratulate your self on *everything happening for a good reason*... Go to the State Fair and eat cheese curds. Bring the kids to visit their grandparents. Spend quality time with the dog. Notice the large amount of toilet paper you've collected to ship to India.
17)Gawk at the movers as they empty the house...room by room. Your first house. The only one your kids have known. Recall that you've sold it. Cry. Laugh. Do a little more of both. Put on some "Yonder Mountain String Band" and do a goodbye dance with the kids in your empty living room...
18)Remember your good fortune and the amazing opportunity you've been given. Buy several more India guidebooks. Become really excited because you are finally moving to India!

The Universe has it's own ways of moving along...you can swim against the current or decide to let the water carry you. Sometimes you do a bit of both before you see that, either way, you're still in the water! Wish us a good luck in our journey... We depart this coming Tuesday, September 4th.

Chandra, Bob, Grayce and Owen :-)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Day We Leave...

Or not... To enter India a visa is required. One visa per person. One visa per person that is not yet in transit from the Indian consulate = one Fischer family *not* leaving for India today.

It was just last week that Bob made the comment: "We could sure use just one more week!" And thus the Universe provides :-)

A little frustrating, perhaps, but we are cultivating our flexibility and notions of impermanence! Though we've been building toward this moving day for a couple of months we also realize that this time is a gift...more time to pack, more time to say goodbye, more time to do a few special things like, um, maybe head to the Great Minnesota Get Together to gorge on fried food on a stick?? Today also happens to be my mother's birthday. Leaving on your mother's birthday (taking along her two much-loved grandchildren...for, oh about, say, two years) is generally not viewed with exaltation... Another week makes everybody happy!

That coupled with the realization that the movers would have been mighty displeased to see the state of our packing had they arrived as scheduled on Friday, is evidence that fate has apparently intervened on our behalf.

The kids are taking it all in stride, the dog is confused as hell, the refrigerator is empty and the moving boxes are winning...just your typical move to India. We'll try again next week!


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Simplicity through commerce?

There are a few ways to define ascetism (and most world religions address it in some form) but one way is "the trait of great self denial (especially refraining from worldly pleasures)." Do a search and you will also find words such as "austerity" or "non-indulgence" or at it's simplest "self discipline."

Whichever definition you choose, had you joined us in any of our recent "moving to India" shopping expeditions, you *might* have noticed that we have a long way to go before we come any where close to being ascetic.

I find it sort of ironic that we have spent so much of the past two years discussing the notion of simple living and how to embrace it for ourselves and our family; that we've both given away or sold so much of our stuff in the past few months only to find ourselves standing in line, carts brimming over, credit cards bursting into flame from overuse. It will be interesting to arrive and discover how much of it we really make use of. Much of it is a luxury of *things* which make our daily lives easier and more enjoyable but that are far from necessary and that may make it more difficult to experience things as they are rather than what we assume they should be.

A friend of mine recently made the comment "I thought it would be sort of fun to just go to India and see what you could find when you get there." In theory that sounds like exactly the sort of thing we aspire to. In practice, we're selling our home, MOVING to (as opposed to vacationing in) India with two small children, traveling for over 24 hours, living in a hotel for 2 weeks, then moving into a new house, and leaving many western "conveniences" behind (one of which is apparently cheap and comfortable toilet paper...but that may be fodder for a whole 'nuther post!) We say that the things we're bringing along will make it so much easier for the kids to adjust but I suspect that this may, in fact, benefit a parent or two...

We view this move as both adventure and opportunity. We want to experience India as fully as possible with open minds and willing hearts; to make an attempt at understanding it's people and places and culture through a clear lens. I have no doubt that we will make frequent mistakes along the way. There will be moments of joy and moments of dismay. Times of deep understanding and times in which we fail to understand anything at all. Whole days in which Mommy yearns for cappucino and a chocolate cherry scone from Java Jacks... hopefully followed by a thorough enjoyment of chai and dosas!

6 days until lift off...